Repository logo

Guidance on the use of complex systems models for economic evaluations of public health interventions.

Published version

Published version

Repository DOI

Change log


Ennis, Kate 
Meier, Petra 
Hayes, Kate 


To help health economic modelers respond to demands for greater use of complex systems models in public health. To propose identifiable features of such models and support researchers to plan public health modeling projects using these models. A working group of experts in complex systems modeling and economic evaluation was brought together to develop and jointly write guidance for the use of complex systems models for health economic analysis. The content of workshops was informed by a scoping review. A public health complex systems model for economic evaluation is defined as a quantitative, dynamic, non-linear model that incorporates feedback and interactions among model elements, in order to capture emergent outcomes and estimate health, economic and potentially other consequences to inform public policies. The guidance covers: when complex systems modeling is needed; principles for designing a complex systems model; and how to choose an appropriate modeling technique. This paper provides a definition to identify and characterize complex systems models for economic evaluations and proposes guidance on key aspects of the process for health economics analysis. This document will support the development of complex systems models, with impact on public health systems policy and decision making.


Funder: NIHR School for Public Health Research Doctoral Studentship

Funder: National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration West

Funder: UKRI Medical Research Council

Funder: UKRI Medical Research Council UK Prevention Research Partnership

Funder: UK‐PRP SIPHER Project


complex systems, economic modeling, public health, Humans, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Public Health, Public Policy, Economics, Medical

Journal Title

Health Econ

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title


National Institute for Health and Care Research (PD‐SPH‐2015)
University of Sheffield Wellcome Trust Doctoral Training Center (203956/Z/16/Z)
Medical Research Councl (MC_UU_00022/1)
UK Prevention Research Partnership (MR/S037594/1)
National Institutes of Health (R01 AA024443)
Cancer Research UK (C1417/A22962)
British Heart Foundation (FS/15/34/31656)